Changing China

Giant on the move

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Snowboarding the Bird’s Nest

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Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium, the tangled steel structure that starred as the focal point of the 2008 Summer Games, has been dressed up for winter in hopes of drawing post-Olympics visitors — and their cash.

Transformed into a winter-themed sports park, the stadium — which in its glory days packed some 80,000 cheering spectators into row after row of seats — now includes snowboard and ski slopes inside the inner ring, as well as a short toboggan tube, all covered in man-made snow.

But judging by the turnout on the opening weekend, when media representatives outnumbered paying visitors, this white Christmas wonderland faces a tough challenge to escape the stadium’s legacy as a big, white elephant.CHINA-BIRDSNEST/SNOW

The 180 yuan entrance fee (about $26) is one barrier to making the snowy playground a financial success. A young mother who brought her son said she reluctantly paid the fee only because the stadium has a special status among China’s famous cultural sites. Other visitors said they were taken aback by extra fees charged inside the venue.

Reuters reporter catches a ride with F1 champ Button

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Beijing based Reuters Sports Reporter Nick Mulvenney gets the ride of a lifetime in the passenger seat of F1 Champion Jenson Button’s race car, for a whirlwind tour inside Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium. 

Video credit: Kitty Bu and Wang Shubing

from The Great Debate (Commentary):

Shenzhen’s “Bird’s Nest”

If you want to gauge the current state of China's construction boom, look no further than Hong Kong's dynamic neighbour, Shenzhen.  Defying the searing heat of the Chinese summer, construction workers are busily building a state-of-the-art stadium for the 2011 World University Games.

I was there last week on a five-day tour organized by Guangdong Province, and the stadium was the first stop, indicating how intensely proud officials are about the "Lotus Flower" stadium.

Snapshot Beijing, 7: Bolt breaks the unbreakable world record

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Bolt breaks the 200 world record

My abiding memory from these Games  will be watching Usain Bolt give everything he had to break a world record most of us had thought unbreakable.

Michael Johnson’s time of 19.32 in the 200 metres had never been seriously challenged before the Jamaican sprinter, a headline writer’s dream, decided it was finally time to get down to some serious work.

Usain Bolt wins 100 metres — your views

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Bolt wins 100 metres gold medal

Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the Olympic 100 metres on Saturday, shattering the world record in the process with a time of 9.69 seconds.

Bolt thumped his chest in celebration as he crossed the line, after leaving Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago (silver) and American Walter Dix (bronze) trailing at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Instant expert: the men’s 100m

The athletics is underway, at last, and the three favourites Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay all came safely through their heats this morning.

This is the race everyone will be talking to in the build-up to Saturday’s final so we thought we’d give you the chance to sound like an expert without have to leaf through the record books.

View from the Bird’s Nest

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The Bird’s Nest

We’ve given our blog a new name to go with its fresh focus on the Games, now that the bulk of our team of reporters, photographers and TV crews have assembled in Beijing.

Our reporters are blogging regularly with news and views from the greatest show on earth and we’ll be showcasing the pick of reports from Reuters and around the web.

The Beijing Olympics in Lego

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Bird’s nest in Lego

I know this has been out for a while, but with just a few days to go to the start of the Games I couldn’t resist a link to this exhibition of the 2008 Olympics in Lego.

The Bird’s Nest looks fantastic… Must have taken Olympic levels of patience and dedication. Hats off.

Beijing’s moving artists

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Du Yize, the founder and trainer of the Beijing Du Yize Parkour Club, shows his skills at the Forbidden City in Beijing

In the unlikely event Parkour ever becomes an Olympic sport, at least the hosts won’t have to build a venue.

“The art of moving” is an urban pastime that involves getting from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible and overcoming obstacles using only the human body.

The one-month countdown begins

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    It’s a month to go! So, we sent our reporters out onto the street to speak to ordinary Beijingers to find out how they and the city are coping.

    ”I didn’t have much interest in the Olympics before the Tibet riots. After that I became to think: All right. If you guys are so keen to make us look bad, we’ll have to get things done even better. After the earthquake, I felt really sad and at one point even thought that it might be good not to hold the Games any more. But the reality is the country has poured in so much manpower, materials and money to prepare for the Games. As the Chinese saying goes, ‘there can be no turning back once the arrow is on the bowstring’.” – Zhao Qian, 26, a public relations officer for a European company

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